Air Canada’s first dedicated B767-300ER freighter aircraft was put into service today and operated its inaugural flight from Toronto to Vancouver. Originally scheduled to first fly to Frankfurt, Air Canada Cargo deployed the passenger to freighter (P2F) aircraft early to provide capacity where needed.
“Our first freighter is being deployed earlier than initially planned in order to provide additional cargo capacity needed into and out of Vancouver to meet ongoing demand as a result of the flooding that disrupted British Columbia’s transportation network,” the carrier says.
The freighter is planned to operate 12 trips between Air Canada’s Toronto and Vancouver cargo hubs.
The three major highways linking the Vancouver area with the rest of the province and indeed, the rest of Canada were cut following severe damage in multiple places after an ‘atmospheric river’ dumped record-setting rain on the southwestern portion of B.C. causing landslides and flooding.
Only one of these main arteries is functioning again and is limited to essential traffic as land-based supply chains struggle to cope.
“Our teams have also worked extremely hard over the last several days to get our freighter into service early to aid in the transport of goods to Vancouver,” says Jason Berry, vice president, Cargo, at Air Canada.
Prior to its first freighter operation, Air Canada and Air Canada Cargo had boosted cargo capacity by 586 tonnes into Vancouver from Toronto, Montreal and Calgary in November to allow for the transport of more critical supplies to and from British Columbia.
The first freighter is currently planned to operate between Toronto and Frankfurt for the remainder of 2021, in addition to the flights to Vancouver.
In 2022, primarily out of Toronto, it will also serve Miami, Quito, Lima, Mexico City and Guadalajara. With additional airports including Madrid, Halifax and St. John’s planned when the second aircraft is delivered in the first half of 2022.
The B767-300ER freighters will allow Air Canada Cargo to offer five different main deck configurations, increasing the overall cargo capacity of each aircraft to nearly 58 tonnes or 438 cubic metres, with approximately 75 per cent of this capacity on the main deck.
Air Canada says the addition of freighter aircraft to its fleet will allow Air Canada Cargo “to provide consistent capacity on key air cargo routes, which will facilitate the movement of goods globally. “
The freighters will also enable the cargo division to increase its capabilities to transport goods such as automotive and aerospace parts, oil and gas equipment, pharmaceuticals, perishables, as well as handling the growing demand for fast, reliable shipment of e-commerce goods.
Given the immediate demand for cargo capacity, the first freighter entered service without its final livery. At a later date, it will be painted in an Air Canada Cargo variation of the Air Canada livery introduced in 2017.
Since March 2020, Air Canada has operated more than 13,000 all-cargo flights globally using its wide-body passenger aircraft as well as certain temporarily modified B777 and A330 aircraft, which have additional available cargo capacity due to the removal of seats from the passenger cabin.
Air Canada Cargo is the country’s largest air cargo provider as measured by cargo capacity, with a presence in over 50 countries and self-handled hubs in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago, London, and Frankfurt.